By Mark Wineka
Laura R. Lyerly, a first-time candidate for Salisbury City Council, says she’s good at bringing people together.
Something she would like to see is council’s playing a key role in promoting education to outside sources and supporting public schools and colleges in general.
“We need community involvement to make it happen,” she says, adding an emphasis on diversity would have to be included.
Lyerly also believes strongly in promoting a healthy community, making it cleaner and more attractive and marketing history and the arts beyond the city limits.
“If you don’t get it out there,” she said, “no one can appreciate it like we do.”
Lyerly was most recently employed as administrative assistant for Downtown Salisbury Inc. She resigned Thursday and became a council candidate Friday, the last day to file.
“It was something I thought about for a long time,” Lyerly said. “It was a leap of faith, really.”
Randy Hemann, executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., said because of his organization’s close partnership with the city, it prohibits employee involvement in City Council elections.
“Our staff does not make donations to campaigns or in any other way work with or become involved in the City Council electoral process,” Hemann said. “Running for City Council is a decision Laura made without consultation with DSI, and she decided to resign in order to run for office, rather than continue her employment here.”
Hemann said Downtown Salisbury Inc. keeps “complete neutrality in the electoral process in order to maintain a good working relationship with all of our local officials after the election.”
Lyerly, 28, grew up in Rowan County. She is a graduate of North Rowan High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in English and political science.
She is the daughter of Paige Lyerly and the late James Lyerly.
Lyerly also has worked for public television and has done some freelance writing for the Rowan Business and Yadkin Valley Living magazines.
She worked for Downtown Salisbury for more than two years.
In the Nov. 6 election, Lyerly will seek one of the five seats now held by Bill Burgin, William “Pete” Kennedy, Susan Kluttz, Mark Lewis and Paul Woodson. Robert Boone has joined Lyerly as the only two challengers to this group.
Council members are elected at-large and serve two-year terms.
Lyerly says she has no particular gripes about the current City Council. She describes the five incumbents as “all excellent” with “a lot to teach anyone who comes in.”
She strongly supports the recent city initiative against gangs and youth violence. Lyerly added she appreciated the way Mayor Susan Kluttz has brought people together on that issue. Otherwise, it may not have happened, she added.
“Sometimes people don’t realize you can make changes in any kind of system, people like you and I,” Lyerly said.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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